William Donohue, who leads the Catholic League - a civil rights advocacy group based in New York City - is calling for the boycott of one of the staples of Irish cheer on St Patrick's Day: libations produced by Guinness. Among these are Guinness stout, a dark and coffee-colored beverage that is enjoyed by millions the world over. Because of pressures brought by advocacy groups calling for homosexual marital unions, the organizers of St Patrick's Day parades in Boston and New York have been assailed with demands to allow marchers in the annual parades who would identify themselves as homosexuals with banners and placards. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is among politicians boycotting the parade in his hometown.
According to Donohue, "Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, and Heineken, have pulled their sponsorship of New York's St. Patrick's Day parade; the Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, has withdrawn its sponsorship of Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade."
In a statement published on March 16 at the website of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Guinness stated, "Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all." The statement added, "We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy."
"None of these companies believe in diversity. No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick's Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—that's what diversity is all about."
The New York City march is organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians - a civic group that promotes Catholic religion and Irish heritage. As Donohue points out, "The parade is quintessentially Catholic, beginning with a Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is this Catholic element that angers those who are engaged in a bullying campaign against the St. Patrick's Day parades. The bullies also have nothing but contempt for the constitutional rights of Irish Catholics." In the past, politicians of all stripes and religious faith have marched in the annual parade. Among these was the beloved Mayor Ed Koch, who was also a dear friend of Cardinal Joseph O'Connor. One million people are expected to look on the parade, which will feature 200,000 participants.
(President Barack Obama enjoys a refreshment in Ireland)
Donohue said in a release, "In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that the First Amendment guarantees the right of private parade organizers to determine its own rules for marching. It is this liberty that the makers of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams want to squash."
Saying that he would no longer drink either Guinness, Sam Adams, or Heineken brews, Donohue urged fellow Catholics and "those who believe in tolerance, diversity, and the First Amendment," to boycott them.